Starfish® Identifies More Than 60,000 At-Risk Students Within First Weeks of Fall 2011 Academic Term

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Enterprise student success and retention platform is being used by more than 85 institutions to support students by engaging instructors in student success efforts prior to traditional midterm reporting

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At Harper College, we have had a tremendous response from instructors using the Starfish system to easily communicate with the student’s counselor about a particular student’s struggles.

Starfish Retention Solutions, Inc., a leading provider of student success systems, announced today that the Starfish® system has been used to identify more than 60,000 at-risk students across its client institutions within the first few weeks of the fall 2011 academic term. This marks a more than 400 percent increase over the same period last year, a reflection of the increased number of institutions using the Starfish system as well as greater system adoption within each institution.

Prior to official midterm grades being reported, the Starfish system raised more than 66,000 automatic flags based on student performance and participation as recorded in the learning management system. In addition, faculty members used the Starfish system to manually raise nearly 35,000 flags based on student attendance, participation, and behavior in the classroom. The system was also used to raise more than 9,000 positive flags on students who are performing well — offering students further motivation and encouragement to keep up the good work.

“At Harper College, we have had a tremendous response from instructors using the Starfish system to easily communicate with the student’s counselor about a particular student’s struggles,” said Sheryl M. Otto, dean of student development. “At the heart of our student success strategies is efficient communication. It is important for us to be able to work together as a campus of professionals committed to helping students achieve their academic goals. The Starfish system helps us stay connected to each other so that we can be better-positioned to help each student.”
Similarly, students at Starfish client institutions have used the system in the first weeks of the term to schedule more than 17,000 appointments with instructors, advisors, tutors, and other support service personnel.

Starfish offers a collection of two software systems that work together to support the efforts of academic advisors as they help students overcome challenges. Starfish EARLY ALERT™ is an early-warning and student-tracking system that makes it possible for instructors, advisors, and academic staff to identify at-risk students in real time. Starfish CONNECT™, an education support networking and case-management system, helps students access a personalized contact list of instructors, advisors, and counselors who are dedicated to helping them succeed. Together, the systems generate valuable performance and resource utilization data for the institution, which helps optimize future service offerings.

“Starfish is committed to helping the right people on campus know when students are potentially struggling to an extent that they may not be able to finish what they have started,” said David Yaskin, CEO for Starfish Retention Solutions. “It is humbling to know that our software is enabling campus professionals to effectively and securely communicate with one another, helping thousands of students have a shot at success this academic term.”

About Starfish Retention Solutions
Starfish Retention Solutions is a leading provider of student success systems. The company offers a collection of software solutions that harness the power of the campus community in order to engage, motivate, and graduate more students — securing valuable tuition revenue through student retention. Specifically, the solutions help institutions identify at-risk students in real time, based on their daily course work performance and faculty concerns, and then connect them to the resources designed to help (e.g., advising or tutoring), all while assessing which services and interventions are working. For more information, please call 703.260.1186 or visit

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John Plunkett
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